Good morning, we are continuing with the Thirty-One Days of Time Team. I am down to the final four episodes of Series 13. Today’s episode is the second episode of the series: Villas Out of Molehills and the run time for this episode is 48:14.
Moles are bringing up pieces of mosaic floor in a Cotswold Field. The Time Team travels to the Cotswold, to explore whether or not these tiles are linked to a nearby villa that was discovered almost 200 years ago. Nobody was able to date the villa at the time of the original dig. A nearby spring may give a clue to the purpose of the building. Could this villa be a bathhouse? Or could it be a sacred site? The Time Team is on the case to find out.
The site was located in Withington, nearby a large Roman city called Cirencester. This area was known as the bread basket of Britain during the Roman period. The Time Team was invited by Roger Box, a local archelogy. He talks about how the moles have been bringing up mosaic pieces over the years. Mick thinks there could be a villa, but is more interested in the spring nearby. The pieces that were brought up could hint that it was a villa, however, David Neal, a Roman villa specialist, believes that it could be a bathhouse.
Geophysics works on the site and there is a massive target located. Trench one goes in over the river site. No sooner than the first layer comes up, Phil discovers more mosaic pieces. They are all over trench one. In 1810, the site was originally discovered. There were some mosaics that were found and preserved during that time. The Time Team will have to find the location of the villa because the location was lost. Mick and Phil go over the notes that were made from the original dig.
Stuart walks the landscape to see if he can find the location of the villa. The electric lines are proving to be a challenge to geophysics. Stuart is using the electric lines to his advantage and he is armed with a watercolor made during the first dig.
More and more tiles are being found, so many tiles are being found that the digger is put away and every one hand digs the trench. Some volunteers are sent to a stream to search for roof tiles. Five hours later, Phil discovers a mosaic floor. Tony takes part in the dig and discovers more of the mosaic. Finding a mosaic on day one is a very rare event for the Time Team indeed.
More geophysics results come in and it shows different areas of occupation over the site. Trench two goes in in the upper field. The Time Team expects to find backfill from the original dig in 1810. They are discovering roof tiles. In Trench One, more and more of the mosaic is found. Additionally, there is a chunk of wall found. In Trench Two, a Roman wall is found, but is it the Roman villa?
In Trench One, another mosaic is found. Phil goes over what he thinks is going on with Tony. It seems there was a building with a mosaic in the corridor. What will day two bring for the Time Team? The targets for day two include spring and looking for the original villa. Why would the Romans build a villa near a spring?
Mick is exploring spring the next morning. He found stone channels and a stone basin. He concludes that spring started somewhere else and that the Romans diverted the water to whatever they had built. Could there be a third building on the site? Is the Time Team working on a bathhouse site? Or a temple site? Or a villa site? Tune into the rest of this episode to find out more.
Wow, wow, wow. This was a fascinating episode because of all the finds that were discovered. Even though the Time Team did have a limit as to how much they could dig, all the trenches produced the finds. It was especially cool to see that there was a nearly intact mosaic discovered! I would definitely put this particular Time Team episode on the list of episodes to show to a classroom.
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